Sep 01 2017
Shatashloki 60: Ravana abducts Sita; kills Jatayu
Tena māyāvinā duraṃ apavāhya nŗpātmajau
Jahāra bhāryāṃ rāmasya gŗdhram hatva jaṭāyuṣam
Meaning- Ravana, using the help of the illusory demon Marica, ensured that Rama and Lakshmana were sent far away from the cottage. Thereafter he abducted Seeta. He also killed the bird Jataayu that had come to her aid.
Seeta, who came out of her cottage, saw the illusory golden deer and was deeply fascinated by it. In her excitement, she called Rama and Lakshmana and asked them to observe it and enjoy. She watched the frolicking deer in great fascination for a little while and then she asked Rama to get her that deer. She begged him in deep earnest. Rama asked Lakshmana to keep a vigil over Seeta while he went to hunt that deer.
The illusory deer ran quickly and disappeared. It reappeared again at a great distance. The moment Rama would sight the deer, it would run quickly and disappear and appear once again in the deeper portions of the thick forest. In this hide and seek game, Rama wandered very deep into the forest. He was vexed up with the deer that was hoodwinking him. Finally he used the weapon that had been created by Lord Brahma and aimed it at the deer. As the weapon hit him, Mareecha gave up his illusory form of a deer and appearing in his true form fell to the ground. While battling for his life, he changed his voice into that of Rama, and screamed loudly, “Oh Seeta, Oh Lakshmana” and gave up his life.
His scream reverberated through the forest and reached the ears of Seeta and Lakshmana. Seeta, recognizing the voice of her husband, immediately presumed that he was is in grave danger. Perturbed by this, she ordered Lakshmana to go and save her husband. Lakshmana tried in many ways to convince her that Rama could never be in danger. Without heeding to anything that was being said, Seeta spoke very harshly to Lakshmana. Lakshmana’s heart was broken at the words used by her. Unable to do anything else, he prostrated to her and leaving her alone in the cottage went out to help his brother.
Ravana who had disguised as a sanyasi (saint), was keenly watching all the happenings at Rama’s cottage. No sooner had Lakshmana left, than Ravana, in this garb of saint, approached Seeta and enquired about her. Seeta welcomed the mendicant and offered him the hospitality. Ravana, then introduced himself and declared that he was the monarch of Lanka and that he sought to make her his wife. Seeta angered at this statement, told him to refrain from such vile and unworthy thinking. She told him that even if were to be immortal, he could not escape Rama’s arrow. A verbal duel followed.
An infuriated Ravana transformed into his original self and abducted her. At that moment, the grieving Seeta appealed to all the trees, birds, mountains and wept piteously.
Jatayu who was nearby heard the wails of Seeta and challenged Ravana. In Ramayana, it is said that Ravana abducted Seeta along with the earth on which she was standing. Not just Jatayu, all the birds, trees, mountains etc. came in the way of Ravana when he was trying to abduct Seeta.
Jatayu, although frail and weak, fought vehemently with Ravana. He tried to preach him the morals and the dharma. He told him that another man’s wife is equal to a mother. In the combat, Jatayu overpowered Ravana and threw him to the ground. He pierced Ravana with his nails and injured him.
Jatayu’s valour came as a surprise to Ravana. He flew up in the air with his chariot and Jatayu continued to combat with him in the air. Jatayu bit off all the ten hands of Ravana. However they emerged again. In deep fury, Ravana released his grip on Seeta and cut off both the wings of Jatayu using a sword. Not satisfied with that, he injured the bird badly and smashed both its feet. Jatayu fell to the ground. Seeing the bleeding bird that was on the verge of death, Seeta cried bitterly and hugged it. Ravana took Seeta and flew up in the chariot. All the Saints, trees, birds, animals, mountains, in fact all the elements that had witnessed this gory event of abduction were deeply saddened.
Om Seeta Ramabhyaam namaha
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Sep 01 2017
Shatashloki 59: Ravana along with Marica arrive near Rama’s cottage
Anadŗtya tu tadvākyaṃ rāvaṇaḥ kālacoditaḥ
Jagāma saha mārīcaḥ tasyāśramapadam tadā.
Meaning– As death was hovering over Ravana, he did not listen to the advice given by Marīca. Taking Marīca along with him, he arrived at the cottage of Rama.
In this hymn, the words Anādŗtya and Kālacoditah are very important. When death is imminent and fall is certain, the person fails to listen to good advice given. Not listening to the good advice given is itself the root for all bad results.
Ravana was deeply angered and vexed with Marīca who was giving him unasked advice. He screamed, “Why are you speaking meaningless words, Marīca? Are you trying to scare me from facing that tiny Rama, who without any reason killed your own mother? He impudently chopped off the nose and ears of my sister Soorphanaka. Listening to the words of a woman, he is a fool who has forsaken his country, his family, his kith and kin and has come away into the forests. Moreover, he has killed my Khara, Dooshana and Trishiras. Therefore, I am going to abduct Rama’s wife Seeta, who is dearer to him than his own life. It is impossible for me to change my decision. I will not listen to anyone. I am the king. I will do whatever I please. I never asked you for opinion.
The king has to be respected at all times. Any news, good or bad, should be given to him in all humility, that too only upon being asked. You do not know the Raja dharma. Out of sheer ignorance you have the audacity to speak harshly to me, the king, when he comes to your doorstep. You insult me.
At least it will be appropriate if you listen to me now. Act in accordance to my wishes. In it lies your welfare. When I, the greatest emperor, come to your doorstep seeking help, how can you dare to rebuke and advise me? If you are inefficient and incapable for completing the task assigned to you, say so.
I want you to turn into a golden deer having silver spots all over the body. You should roam in the vicinity of their cottage. Make sure that you are visible to Seeta. This is all that I ask. Your actions should be such that Seeta will be tempted to own you. She should be surprised and carried away by your beauty. If you do per my bidding, I will give you half of my kingdom.
I have to possess Seeta. Until then, this mind of mine will not be peaceful. Acquiring her is my goal. It is my only objective in life. I will not listen to any advice that is contrary to this.
This is your king’s order. If you do not listen, I will kill you now itself. The one who disobeys a king, can never ever be happy. Rama perhaps may spare you, but I, Ravana the king, will not let you remain alive. Think and answer”.
Marīca said, “Ravana, it is now very clear that someone does not seek your welfare. He is seeking to eliminate you. He wants you to meet your end in the hands of Rama. Therefore, he is making you pierce your own eye. My words, that were meant for your welfare, are not reaching your head. Anyway, what can I say to one whose life is coming to an end? I will follow and act according to your wants”.
In his mind Marīca reflected, “When it is certain that I should die, it is better to die in the hands of the great meritorious Rama, rather than to meet death in the hands of this demon Ravana. To be killed by Ravana means I attain hell and also another birth as a demon. Being killed by Rama will help me attain salvation”.
Thrilled with Marīca’s decision, Ravana hugged Marīca and took him along in the chariot driven by mules. Seeing the chariot driven by mules, Marīca was sure of his impending death.
They began the journey in the chariot. They crossed many mountains, rivers, ponds and kingdoms and finally reached Dandakaranya. Ravana got off the chariot and said to Marīca, “My dear friend, we have now arrived near Rama’s cottage. At the earliest, we should complete the task for which we have come here”.
Marīca immediately turned into a golden deer and began to hop in the vicinity of the cottage, waiting for Seeta to notice him.
Om Seeta Ramabhayaam namaha.
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Sep 01 2017
Shatashloki 58: Marīca advises Ravana not to earn Rama’s wrath
Vāryamāṇa ssubahuśo māricena sa rāvaṇaḥ
Na virodho balavatā kshamo rāvana ten ate.
Meaning- ‘O Ravana, listen. Khara, Dooshana and 14000 other demons met their end in the hands of this mighty Rama. Do not underestimate his prowess. Stay away from him”. In this and in many other ways, Marīca advised Ravana.
Ramayana is not just the story of Rama. It contains within it many moral lessons for everyone. In this chapter, through the medium of Mareeca, Valmiki Maharishi teaches that enemity with persons of great might and prowess should never be maintained.
Marica was undoubtedly of worst demonic tendencies, nevertheless having once been hit by Rama’s arrow, immense transformation occurred in him. He now advised Ravana about the futility in seeking to overpower Rama.
Ravana was a fool. Using his position of power, he threatened Marica who was equally irritated with Ravana’s foolishness. All his advice was going down the drain. As the last straw he finally screamed, “O King! O king of Kings! O Lord of all the demons! I do not know who has advised you to take this terrible step that only leads towards the elimination of your entire lineage. You, who never ever listen to the advice of anyone, have today succumbed to unholy advice that was given to you. Let me know who is that person who is talking very sweetly to you and yet at the same time taking you towards doom. Do you know that emperors of your stature should not listen to lowly advice given by people who inwardly seek your destruction?
A king who possesses good traits achieves dharma, artha and kaama. He will then earn great fame. On the other hand, where the king himself is unrighteous, then not only the king but also his ministers and citizens will suffer. As the king, so are the subjects. Where the king is immoral, the kingdom collapses. In case the king is foolish, then the charioteer who leads him will also be foolish. When the charioteer himself is foolhardy and unwise, then he will not be able to see the path ahead clearly. Holding the horses in his rein, he will be moving blindly. Should a pit come in his way, he will fall into it. Along with him he will drag the chariot, the horses, the king, ministers and all the citizens whom he was leading.
Ravana, you have not been able to keep your senses (indriyas) in check. Because of your foolishness, the entire clan of demons will perish. Many innocent demons will become victims.
Who do you think Rama is? He is an embodiment of righteousness, living under the guise of an ascetic. His prowess is immeasurable and he is extremely adept in warfare. His brother, Lakshmana, is a man of highest character. He too possesses great strength. Rama’s wife Seeta is a lady who is worthy of worship. Living in these forests, Rama is presently undertaking penance. With intent of ensuring the welfare of all living beings in this creation, he has stepped into Dandakaranya. It is better if you do not meddle in his affairs.
Once upon a time, together with two companions I tried to attack Rama. Mercilessly he let out 3 sharp powerful weapons. The two weapons killed my companions then and there. The third arrow chased me. The story that I am telling you pertains to that period when Rama was still a very young boy. His single arrow threw me 100 yojanas away into the ocean. I was swirled round and round and then thrown down. It was almost as if I had lost my life. Only then I truly understood the real might of Rama.
From then on, I have given up atrocities of all kind and am now living like a hermit. I have been able to achieve control over my senses and my mind. I am now into penance (tapas) as a way of life. I have renounced everything.
Ravana my lord, Rama appears to me like Lord of death (yama) himself. Wherever I see, I find hundreds and thousands of Ramas. This is my experience. This is my knowledge. I know for sure that you can never ever conquer Rama. Discard your evil desires. Control yourself. Realize that you are heading towards disaster. Both of us are going to die in this process. Your impudence is leading towards this. I state this seeking your welfare. Listen.”
This advice that Maricha gave to Ravana contains a very deep lesson that is applicable to everyone in all periods of time.
Om Seeta Ramabhyaam Namaha.
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Sep 01 2017
Shatashloki 57: Ravana seeks the help of Marica in overpowering Rama
Tato jñātivadhaṃ śrutvā rāvaṇah krodhamūrcitaḥ
Sahāyaṃ varayāmāsa māricaṃ nāma rākṣasaṃ
Meaning – The death of his brothers Khara, Dooshana and Trisiras along with other 14000 other mighty demons hugely infuriated Ravana. He sought the help of demon Maricha in overpowering Rama.
Janasthana was filled with corpses of dead demons. There was no space even to walk through that place. Akampana was the only demon who escaped from that place. Terrified at the prowess exhibited by Rama, Akampana ran to Ravana and reported the death of all demons of Janasthana. Ravana, deeply incensed with this, immediately stood up and said that he will kill Rama.
Akampana stopped him and said, “Ravana, do not underestimate the might of Rama. He is inconquerable. He has a very beautiful wife named Seeta. There is no one in the three worlds who can be equal to her in beauty. She surpasses all the goddesses in beauty. Such is her beauty. Seeta is very dear to Rama. If you abduct this Seeta, then Rama will die of grief”.
Ravana was impressed and deeply taken in by this plan. He was now very confident, as he had secured a way to get rid of Rama. He decided to abduct Seeta.
Boarding a chariot that was yoked by mules, he travelled and reached the residence of Maricha, the son of demon Tataka. Maricha was surprised to have Ravana as his guest, and welcomed him warmly. He enquired about his welfare and the reason behind this surprise visit.
Ravana, depicting immense love that he had never ever shown before, very sweetly said to Maricha, “Maricha, I have decided to kidnap Rama’s wife Seeta. In this mission, I need your help”.
Heaing this, Maricha trembled violently. His mouth dried up completely. He was shocked at this turn of events in his life. For sometime he was speechless. He then politely said, “Oh Lord, who has given you this mean, unworthy and crooked idea? At first, the person who has instigated you needs to be killed. Please understand that the person who has given you this idea is in reality your enemy who doesn’t seek to see you alive and happy.
O king of demons, please listen to me. Rama is no ordinary human. He is like the ferocious lion in the Narasimha avatar. The lion is sleeping at the moment. One should never wake a sleeping lion. Please listen to me and return to Lanka”.
Hearing Maricha’s advice, Ravana returned back to Lanka.
Here Shoorphanaka was unable to tolerate the silence and loneliness in this devastated Janasthana. She fled this place and wailing loudly reached Lanka. She approached her brother Ravana and explained to him the prowess and might of Rama. Without conveying her own story of how she lost her nose and ears, she prompted Ravana to secure the beautiful Seeta as his wife. She extolled Seeta’s beauty. She further said, “I approached Seeta so as to abduct and bring her to you. She deserves to be your wife. When I approached her for your benefit, that Lakshmana chopped off my nose and ears”. Thus, she instigated him.
This time Ravana, clearly carried away by the words of Shoorphanaka, left Lanka and again approached Maricha’s house. He said to Maricha, “All I seek from you Maricha, is that you should take Rama far away from Seeta. The rest of the plan I will execute myself. This will make it simple for me to defeat Rama”.
Maricha said, “O demon Lord! Please understand that Dharma has incarnated as Rama. Do not create a situation wherein you have to fight him. To abduct another’s wife is a great sin”.
What is this? A demon was giving advice on a righteous matter. Maricha was the demon who had been flung into the ocean because of Rama’s arrow. Just the touch of Rama’s arrow could bring such a major transformation in him.
Maricha continued, “Ravana, this single deed of yours will cause your entire lineage to come to an end. Please heed my advice and return to Lanka. Give up this idea of kidnapping Seeta”.
Ravana, who was in no mood to listen, roared violently, “Be quiet! Did I ask you for advice? Who are you to advise me? I am your king. Do not forget that. You just do as you are ordered. If you dare to disobey, I will kill you here itself”.
Maricha was shocked at this outcome. He reflected within himself.
Om Seeta Ramabhyaam namaha.
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Sep 01 2017
Shatashloki 56: Single-handedly Rama kills 14,000 demons
Vane tasminnivasatā janasthāna nivāsinām
rakṣasām nihatānyāsan sahasrāṇi caturdaśa.
Meaning- While living in the place called Janasthana, Rama killed 14000 demons.
This hymn brings to light the valour and might of Rama. For this particular reason, Maharishi Narada sang this hymn.
Each of these 14000 demons had massive bodies with unlimited might and strength, resembling gigantic black clouds who possessed the speed of wind in movement. Every single demon was such that his loud shouts and screams was enough to cause turbulence in the entire Dandakaranaya. They took great delight in wandering in the gardens of Dandakaranya and in plucking and throwing away the flowers that blossomed there. Their additional pastime was to stroll in the forests and pluck and throw away the heads of anyone whom they came across. This was their speciality. In case of a war, they madly rush forward with their red shot eyes and attack but never ever backtrack.
When these demons heard that they were to wage a war with Rama, they immediately carried their spears, tridents, bludgeons, clubs, long knives, battle-axes, maces, batons etc. Many others carried long bows, very strong iron arrows, iron shots, daggers and other horrific weapons of assault. Eagerly they set out for war.
At the time they set out, jackals howled awfully from the eastern directions, vultures and owls flew overhead screeching horrendously, the lotuses that had bloomed in the nearby ponds withered suddenly, the fruits and flowers that had adorned the forest trees came crashing to the ground and many more evil omens could be seen in all directions. Due to the evil/bad vibrations emitted by these demons who were ruthlessly marching forward, cuckoos lost their sense of rhythm and sang horrifically. At every step they were accosted by bad omens. Yet, undeterred by all this, they reached Panchavati.
Rama was a single man confronting an army of 14000 demons. Many Devatas, Brahmarishis, Mahatmas, Siddhas, Gandharvas, Charanas, Gobrahmanas assembled in the sky and seeking the welfare of the world, prayed for success in Rama’s mission. When Rama, like Rudra, stood ferociously and valiantly facing the 14000 demons, all the living beings trembled.
Like a gigantic ocean, the swarm of demons shrieked horrendously and ruthlessly fell upon Rama. They hurled all their weapons upon him at one go. The weapons pierced and bruised Rama’s body and he was drenched in blood. The Devatas, siddhas and others who were witnessing this war from heaven grieved upon seeing the injuries inflicted upon Rama by these demons.
Yet fearlessly, Rama made a circular curve using his bow (mandala akara) and released hundreds and thousands of arrows. These arrows shred the mighty weapons into pieces. Further they pierced the demons and flung them away. Moans from the demons filled the air.
The infuriated demons now began to hurl huge rocks upon Rama. It can be compared to a rain of rocks. Rama in full fury released the Gandharva astra, which is a very special powerful weapon. Due to the power of this weapon, the demons collapsed in multitudes. At one shot he killed 10,000 demons.
Thereafter 12 army generals attacked Rama. Rama destroyed all of them. Very shortly, another 100 demons fell upon Rama. Rama’s weapons threw them to the ground in no time. Seeing this, another 1000 demons attacked Rama. Rama released 1000 arrows from his bow which pierced these demons and rendered them lifeless. Seeing this, all the other remaining demons madly rushed towards Rama. Rama’s frightening arrows took away the life of all these demons.
In this manner, in just a short time period of one and half muhurtas, Rama dispatched 14000 demons from the face of the earth. This sight brought untold joy to all the Devatas who were witnessing this from heavens. The sound of divine drums could be heard from the skies and the Devatas showered Rama with flowers.
It can be said that all these weapons were forms of mantras (mantra roopa astra) that were used to bring the downfall of the demons.
Om Seeta ramabhyaam namaha.
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